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books o8, o9, 1o, 11.

Not only have I only read eleven books this year so far, I've been on the same book since January. This is really only because a.) school has overwhelmed me, b.) the book is long, and c.) the book is kind of boring but I refuse to give up. SO. I start my summer by giving some descriptions of books 8 through 11.

( gifts from the heart by randy fujishin. )
To be fair, I might be biased because the author is my professor and I think him to be quite awesome. Randy Fujishin is a speech communications professor at a community college nearby, and he's been doing this for over twenty years. He's also a therapist and, apparently, writes books in his free time. And talks about buying motorcycles. Most of his books are used in classroom settings, and this book was for my Improving Relationships class.

Back of the book: "Gifts from the Heart helps students learn, practice, and improve ten fundamental communication skills needed for any long-term relationship. Each skill is presented as a 'gift' students give to another, rather than as a behavior they implement--empowering students to participate more fully in their relationships. At the opening of each chapter, engaging stories place the concepts and skills in a real-world context. With a conversational and reader-friendly writing style, each chapter focuses on one essential communication skill that can dramatically enhance students' connections with their romantic partners, family members, and friends. Application oriented and jargon free, Gifts from the Heart uses memorable acronyms and uncomplicated exercises to present techniques that can be used by those hoping to improve a specific relationship, and by all readers who want to offer 'gifts' to other people in their lives."

Definitely a school book, but I found it pretty valuable. I know that this book, in addition to A Hidden Wholeness, has really changed the way I interact with my loved ones and has made me more aware of my behavior.

Genre : Self-help, Psychology, Relationships.
Length : 130 pages.
Rating : 4/5 = Pretty darn good.

( a hidden wholeness : the journey toward an undivided life by parker j. palmer. )
I read this for a book club ( yay I am in a book club! ) and found it to be very inspirational. Granted, the people in my book club have read other work by him before, so no surprise we chose this one. However, I found it particularly thought-provoking.

Some information from the inside flap: "In A Hidden Wholeness, Parker J. Palmer reveals the same compassionate intelligence and informed heart that shaped his best-selling books Let Your Life Speak and The Courage to Teach. Here he speaks to our yearning to live undivided lives--lives that are congruent with our inner truth--in a world filled with the forces of fragmentation.

Mapping an inner journey that we take in solitude
and in the company of others, Palmer describes a form of community that fits the limits of our active lives. Defining a 'circle of trust' as 'a space between us that honors the soul,' he shows how people in settings ranging from friendship to organizational life can support each other on the journey toward living 'divided no more.'"

There's a lot of talk about these communities, and he also addresses some spirituality topics. I don't necessarily know how I feel about those. Regardless, the rest just struck me as 'wow, this is sort of what I want to achieve in my relationships' and there I went.

Genre : Spirituality.
Length : 186 pages.
Rating : 4/5 = Pretty darn good.

( performing purity : whiteness, pedagogy, and the reconstitution of power by john t. warren. )
Out of the blue, I know. This is a book I read for one of my graduate communication studies classes. I admire and fear John Warren, though I'm sure he's a nice bloke. He has done amazing work in the area of whiteness and privilege, and this is of course no different. This book actually represents part of his dissertation.

Back of the book: "Based on a two-year critical ethnography, Performing Purity: Whiteness, Pedagogy, and the Reconstitution of Power demonstrates the potential of a performative conceptualization of whiteness--a way of seeing whiteness in production, in the process of reiteration. This book builds on prior studies by searching for the repetitions of whiteness in our daily communication. The move ot the performative is an explicit detailing of whiteness in and through the repetitious acts that work to reconstitute whiteness as a communicative ideal. Performing Purity creates a critical space of dialogue, shifting the conversation to how we make race, as a construct, matter."

I liked it. It was short, really, and rather to the point, with a lot of concrete examples. I found those to be very helpful, and I think this work is essential. There we are.

Genre : Race identity, Performative (philosophy), Identity (psychology), Performing arts.
Length : 165 pages, not counting references and notes.
Rating : 4/5 = Pretty darn good.

( o solo homo : the new queer performance, edited by holly hughes and david roman. )
I read this book for another graduate communication studies course, Communication and Gender. Of course, my professor has a performance leaning, hence the text. And I have to say, it was pretty amazing. The book contains scripts of amazing solo performances by queer performers. We didn't have to read them all for class, but I was going to make that sucker count for this list. Plus, the other performances were just as amazing. This is not my normal reading material.

From the back: "O Solo Homo is a diverse, definitive, and hugely entertaining collection representing the cutting edge of queer solo performance. The pieces in O Solo Homo touch nerves that run deep--from sex, politics, community, and health to the struggles and joys of family, friends, and lovers. Peggy Shaw, of Split Britches, revisits how she learned to be a butch. The late Ron Vawter, of the Wooster Group, juxtaposes the lives of two very different men who died of AIDS: diva filmmaker Jack Smith and Nixon crony Roy Cohn. 'Gender Outlaw' Kate Bornstein goes virtual for advice while her female lover is becoming a man. Tim Miller, one of the NEA Four, surveys the landscape of gay desire before and after the advent of AIDS. And Carmelita Tropicana, the 'National Songbird of Cuba,' makes an unforgettable, hilarious return to Havana. O Solo Homo will move and provoke you, make you laugh, and make you think."

Well. It moved me. It provoked me. It made me laugh, and it certainly made me think. I am already a huge fan of Kate Bornstein. I also loved pieces from Susan Miller, Alec Mapa, Michael Kearns, Luis Alfaro, Denise Uyehara, and Holly Hughes. Anyway! Very fantastic. So glad I read it.

Genre : Drama.
Length : 481 pages.
Rating : 4/5 = Pretty darn good.


Currently reading : The 20s by Frederick J. Hoffman, Let Your Life Speak by Parker J. Palmer, and Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.



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